The Leftist’s ceaseless agitation for equality often makes him/her into a modern day Procrustes. In Ancient Greek mythology, Procrustes was an innkeeper who had beds of only one length so if a wayfarer came in who had legs longer than any of Procrustes’ beds, Procrustes would cut off the legs of the wayfarer until they fitted his beds. Similarly today, if anybody is clearly not equal the Leftist is determined to force him to be equal or at least is determined to deny his inequality. Stalin, of course, made Procrustes look like a wimp. Anybody in Russia who looked unequal — such as the kulaks (“rich” peasants) — Stalin simply had executed.
Thankfully, Leftists in the economically successful “Western” democracies have never gained the power that Stalin had. Just as the anarchic savagery and bloodlust of the French revolution made the idea of revolution obnoxious throughout the rest of Europe for over 100 years (until 1917), so the murderous brutality and oppressiveness of Lenin and Stalin immediately fostered great and reasonable distrust of Leftism in aware populations worldwide and thus placed some limits on further Leftist access to power. Its inherent destructiveness makes Leftism self-limiting and self-defeating in many ways — but only if people take note of what Leftist ideas actually lead to.
Despite that, however, Leftists in the “Western” world are still numerous and vocal and thus still do an impressive Procrustean job in many ways. Perhaps the best known example of that is the way they have succeeded in “dumbing down” our educational systems.
More generally, their constant refusal to acknowledge any real differences between people or groups of people tends to obstruct society from dealing in any way with those differences, no matter how important they may be. This constant lack of realism makes Leftists significant enemies of rationality.
A rather clear example of the current insane pursuit of at least nominal equality is the way that almost all students in some places now pass their final high-school examinations. In Britain in 2002, for instance, 94% of A-level students passed and the UK educational authorities, far from being embarrassed, asserted that they hope soon to get 100% of students passing (BBC Thursday, 15 August, 2002, GMT 04:29). This does of course achieve the Leftist ideal of Procrustean equality but at the expense of making an A-level pass completely uninformative, meaningless and useless. Despite such cosmetic and obscurantist nonsense, reality still asserts itself of course. As the bare certificate has now become meaningless, students subsequently have to be assessed in more difficult and complicated ways — either by use of additional tests or by use of the relative marks each student got within the examination.
Another illustration of the quite foul depths to which the equality doctrine can sink is the repeated claim by Leftists of “moral equivalence” between very disparate people and groups. For instance, at the height of the Cold War, Leftists would routinely claim that Communist regimes and the economically successful “Western” democracies such as the United States were morally equivalent — that neither was more blameworthy or praiseworthy than the other. When President Reagan called a spade a spade and described the USSR as an “evil empire”, this was regarded as shocking and ignorant by US liberals. How anybody can see any equivalence between systems that murder millions without trial because of their suspected political views (as Stalin did in the USSR and Pol Pot did in “Kampuchea”) and countries that either have no death penalty at all or agonize over every such penalty that they inflict (even when the penalty is for the most heinous crimes) defies imagination. Such “moral imbecility” is startlingly reminiscent of the psychopath and the role of psychopathy in Leftism will therefore be taken up later in this series.
Other applications of the “Equality” mania
Beauty: In the name of equality and anti-discrimination Leftists find many other strange outlets for agitation. Perhaps one of the most bizarre is their apparent hatred of beauty. Yeagley writes vividly about how anti-discrimination ideology is now being stretched to abolish the concept of “beauty” Excerpt: So now, in the name of equality, all and any are equally beautiful. There is no hierarchy, no standard. Because of the political considerations connected with race, beauty is no longer the regnant reality of the beauty pageants.
Hunting: Because so many of his policies are at least nominally conservative, British Prime Minister Tony Blair occasionally has had to throw a sop to the Leftists of his Labor party to keep them happy. Once such sop was to cut the voting rights of the herediary peers in the traditional but relatively powerless House of Lords and later he tried to ban hunting to hounds. The ostensible reason for the ban was that hunting is cruel but the real reason was of course that fox-hunting is usually seen in Britain (rather erroneously) as an upper-class sport — and hating the “Toffs” is a great British Labour Party tradition.
Australian anthropologist, Ron Brunton has written an excellent summary of the place of hunting to hounds in British society and endorsed the words of the Prince of Wales to the effect that if fox-hunting had been beloved of blacks and gays it would have been warmly approved of instead of being banned.
What neither the Prince nor Brunton have noted is that this is no theory. It is literally true in Australia. In Australia, blacks are even allowed to hunt animals from PROTECTED species if that is part of their “traditional” customs! The hypocrisy that Leftist hatreds engender really is breathtaking sometimes: Black cruelty is good; White cruelty is bad. Shades of Orwell!
Lynching myths: In the USA, Southerners are still viewed with great suspicion by Leftists. That does of course in part date back to the Civil War but the more recent “Jim Crow” era in the South is also a great pleasure for Leftists. They all bask in their self-righteous knowledge of how those wicked old Southerners of that era used to go around persecuting any blacks who got “uppity”. And REALLY “uppity” blacks were regularly lynched, of course — the ultimate expression of inequality.
The history of the matter is amazingly different. Lynching was a primitive way of dealing with crime and during the period concerned there were not only 3,445 blacks lynched but also 1,297 whites lynched! That’s the history of it. Only 72% of lynchings were of blacks, which is about the proportion of all crimes committed by US blacks today. Lynching actually seems to have been FAIR! “To kill a mockingbird” is a great and famous novel but it should not be relied on as history.
Self-esteem: Another way Leftists have long had of justifying their mania for “equality” is to claim that inequality damages the self-esteem of the losers in any comparison and so any differential reward or praise of anyone must be avoided. The simplistic mental-health assumption involved is that low self-esteem is always bad and high-self esteem is always good.
Even the Leftist N.Y. Times has however now noted that self-esteem is not the psychological 8th wonder of the world that Leftists thought it was. The NY Times article reported rightly that high-self esteem can in fact be associated with a whole range of anti-social behaviours. Excerpt: High self-esteem, studies show, offers no immunity against bad behavior. Research by Dr. Brad J. Bushman of Iowa State University and Dr. Roy F. Baumeister of Case Western Reserve University finds that some people with high self-regard are actually more likely to lash out aggressively when criticized than those with low-self esteem. The list of groups – neo-Nazis, street toughs, school bullies – who combine preening self-satisfaction with violence belies the power of one to ameliorate the other
I myself have argued against the self-esteem gospel for some time and do so again later in this monograph so let me just mention one little known aspect of the self-esteem research that is NOT mentioned in the NY Times article — that US blacks generally are found to have high self-esteem.
This finding is actually a big deal for two reasons. The most obvious is that by almost any criterion blacks tend to be the losers in American society so should on Leftist assumptions be very low on self esteem. That they are not shows that Leftist theory is, as usual, totally divorced from reality.
The second important implication is that it undercuts one of the pillars of Leftist support for the abomination known as “affirmative action” (i.e. anti-white racism). The big argument was that Africans suffer a psychological “burden’ because of their slave origins so need measures to boost their self-esteem and get them to achieve. Now that it has long been clear that their self esteem does NOT need boosting, we can no doubt expect a withdrawal of Leftist support for affirmative action can we? Not likely!